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Salamanders and Newts of Nebraska

Salamanders and Newts of Nebraska

Nebraska is only home to 2 salamanders all from the same family.

Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family

The Barred Tiger Salamander or Western Tiger Salamander is a large salamander, capable of reaching a foot long but generally 5 – 8 inches. They are known for their dark bars that run down its body. It is found throughout the state of Nebraska.

Smallmouthed Salamander (Ambystoma texanum)

The Smallmouthed Salamander is smaller than the Western Tiger Salamander, reaching between 3 to 5.5 inches long. They have speckles on their body. They can be only found in the southeastern corner of the state.

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Salamanders and Newts of South Dakota

Salamanders and Newts of South Dakota

South Dakota is only home to 3 species of salamanders from 2 different families. Not that great of a state to look for salamanders in sadly.

Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander Family

The Barred Tiger Salamander or Western Tiger Salamander is the largest salamander in the state, capable of reaching a foot long. It is found throughout the state. It has dark bars that run down its body that makes it identifiable.

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is found in the far southeastern part of the state. They vary in color from black to gray, can have spots or blotches but not really solid bars like the Barred Tiger Salamander.

Proteidae

The Mudpuppy is a completely aquatic species of salamander. They keep their gills throughout their life. The Mudpuppy has not been seen in South Dakota in 30 years. They were found in permanent bodies of water in the northeastern corner of the state. You should report sightings of them.

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Betic Midwife Toad (Alytes dickhilleni)

photo by Benny Trapp

Common Name: Betic Midwife Toad or Midwife toad of Hillenius
Scientific Name: Alytes dickhilleni
Family: Alytidae – Midwife Toads and Painted Frogs family
Locations: Spain
Size: 1.4 inches (3.5 cm)

The Betic Midwife Toad is found in the southeastern part of Spain along mountain ranges between 700 and 2,000 meters (2,300 and 6,600 feet) high. They were more common in the area but has become rare. The waters they breed in have been dammed or drained for agricultural reasons. Droughts in the area have not helped either. On top of all that, Chytrid Fungus, a deadly pathogen, has been found in some populations of the frogs.

Like all Midwife Toads, during the breeding season, the toads breed on land. After mating, the male frogs will carry and protect the eggs until they hatch. That is why they are called the Midwife Toads due to them caring for their offspring.

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Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae)

photo by M. Betley

Common Name: Pool Frog
Scientific Name: Pelophylax lessonae
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
Introduced Locations: Spain
Size: 2 – 3.5 inches (5 – 9 cm)

The Pool Frog is named after the fact that they are easily found on the shores of ponds (and other water bodies). Many of these ponds that they call home have become polluted or drained, causing decreases in the populations. Due to this, the frog went extinct in England in the 1990s. There are re-introduction programs helping to re-establish the frogs in the country. They are the rarest amphibian in the country and it is illegal to harm them. The Pool Frog has not always been considered a native species to England but research has shown that they were.

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Salamanders and Newts of North Dakota

Salamanders and Newts of North Dakota

North Dakota is home to only 3 different species of salamanders and no newts.

Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family

The Barred Tiger Salamander or Western Tiger Salamander is the largest salamander in the state, capable of reaching a foot long. It is found throughout the state. It has dark bars that run down its body that makes it identifiable.

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is found in the eastern part of the state. They vary in color from black to gray, can have spots or blotches but not really solid bars like the Barred Tiger Salamander.

Proteidae

The Mudpuppy is a completely aquatic species of salamander. They keep their gills throughout their life. They are found in permanent bodies of water along the eastern border of the state.

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Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile)

photo by wikiuser The High Fin Sperm Whale

Common Name: Northwestern Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma gracile
Family: Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington
Size: 5.5 – 8.6 inches (14 – 22 cm) – Neotenic individuals can grow to 10 inches (26 cm)

The Northwestern Salamander gets its name from living in the northwestern North America. They are found along the Pacific Coast, maybe Pacific Coast Mole Salamander would be a better name? Like most members of the family Ambystomatidae, the Northwestern Salamander spends most of its life hidden either underground or under logs. They can be found on rainy nights traveling to and from breeding sites.

The salamander breeds from January to August depending on latitude and altitude. Lower altitude populations breed earlier from January to April while higher altitudes breed from June to August. They breed in semi-permanent or permanent water bodies such as lakes, ponds, or streams. After they breed, the couple will leave and not perform any parental care. The eggs eventually hatch and larvae emerges. The larvae takes a year or two, depending on location, to complete metamorphosis.

Some individuals never complete their metamorphosis. They retain their larval characteristics such as gills. This is called neoteny or paedomorphosis. These neotenic salamanders stay in the ponds, lakes, or streams that they were born, never leaving the water.

There are two subspecies of the salamander that have been recognized. The 51°N latitude divides the species with A. g. decorticatum north of the line and A. g. gracile below it. A. g. decorticatum is more spotted than the other.

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Salamanders and Newts of Australia

There are no salamanders and newts native to Australia. The Smooth Newt has been introduced to Australia near Melbourne and has started to spread.

Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

Even though surveys has shown the newt spreading, the Australian government refuses to act. The Smooth Newts were probably introduced to the wild through the release of someone’s pets. Please never release your pet into the wild.

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Salamanders and Newts of Saskatchewan Canada

Salamanders and Newts of Saskatchewan, Canada

Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium)

Saskatchewan is home to only one species of salamander – the Barred Tiger Salamander or the Western Tiger Salamander. They can reach up to a foot long, making it one of the largest salamanders in the world, but are usually around 6 inches long. Most of the Barred Tiger Salamanders become terrestrial after birth but some stay aquatic and retain their larval characteristics. This is called neoteny.

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Coronated Tree Frog (Anotheca spinosa)

Coronated Tree Frog
photo by Alex Shepack

Common Name: Coronated Tree Frog, Spiny-headed Tree Frog, or Crowned Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Anotheca spinosa
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama
Size: 3.14 inches (88 mm) for females, 2.7 inches (68 mm) for males

The Coronated Tree Frog is a noctural, arboreal frog found in the cloud forests of Central America and Mexico. They are capable of living 10 to 15 years long. The frogs are found in the bromeliads, banana plants, and other plants or trees, making them hard to find. They rarely leave the trees, even breeding in them. Males call from water-filled tree holes, bamboo internodes, and bromeliad leaf axils. The call sounds like boop boop boop. The females come in and they lay their eggs in there. They lay between 50 to 300 eggs are laid at a time. Most of the eggs do not hatch and are eaten by the tadpoles that have hatched already. After the eggs hatch, the female will return to the tadpoles and lay unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles to eat. If the father of the tadpoles if present when the female comes back, they will reproduce again but those eggs will also be eaten by the tadpoles.

The Coronated Tree Frog can be found in the pet trade though they are uncommon. They can be group housed but males can get a little too aggressive towards females.

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Salamanders and Newts of Ireland

Ireland is home to only one species of newts and no salamanders.

Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

The lone newt on the island is the Smooth Newt. It is found throughout the island. They are found in woodlands, scrub lands, and long grass. Adults are terrestrial, only coming to water bodies to breed during breeding season from February to June. The Smooth Newt can be confused with the Common Lizard. The Smooth Newt has smooth skin (duh) while the Common Lizard has scaly skin.